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Courtney Capretto shows her take on the little black dress

December 20, 2010 |  4:55 pm

“I am the funeral queen, I’m always in black,” Courtney Capretto said at her trunk show last weekend.

The designer was showing the spring 2011 collection for her ’40s-inspired line, Capretta, (that's right, Capretta with an "a," not an "o," on the end) at Kitson on Robertson Boulevard. And her love of black was obvious in the collection, which boasts numerous adaptations of the LBD.

It was a far cry from her days moonlighting as an animated and colorfully clad go-go dancer in London as she supported herself through fashion school. Originally from Pittsburgh, she has been sewing since she was 9 years old, when she made herself a peach chiffon dress. At 16, after fast-tracking through high school “because I hated it so much,” she worked for a year, then flew to London to attend the American Intercontinental University to study fashion design and marketing. At school, most of her teachers told her that she should probably choose another profession because she didn’t have what it takes.

But undeterred, she moved to L.A. a few years later, and after being poached from a retail position at La Perla to style celebrities at YSL’s Rodeo Drive boutique, she started Capretta, in which the hard chic of ’40s noir meets today’s contemporary working girl. Celebrities Erykah Badu and Amy Poehler have  sported her pieces. The line is priced between $200 and $600 and can be found at Kitson and Beige in Beverly Hills. 

The trunk show included classic black dresses in short and long incarnations, with stretch chiffon finishings and classic scoop necklines; a silver deerskin shift dress and a beige trench coat “that you can wear with anything and everything,” she said. “You can dress it up and wear it out, or wear it with jeans and a T-shirt and it looks great.”

She is mostly drawn to design clothes that are “long and drape on the body” she said. “My line is understated.  I am trying to design contemporary clothing while keeping it classic.  It will always be on the classic end."

-- Raha Lewis

Photo: A little black dress from Capretta's Onyx collection. Credit: Capretta.